Finding ways to get vegetables on the table at mealtimes sometimes takes a bit of creativity. Planning, growing and harvesting a garden makes it a fun experience to try new flavors—and enjoy them too! If you don’t have a garden, going to the farmers market or grocery store and taking the time to select fresh produce can be just as enjoyable. Whatever the process, it’s rewarding to know that nature and human hands worked together to make it all happen.
In Magnolia Table cookbook, Jo shares some instructions on how to prepare a crudités platter, which is a light and healthy appetizer. The name crudités seemed intimidating at first, but this really is a simple dish that doesn’t require a ton of effort to make. It’s as simple as arranging assorted raw vegetables with a few additions such as hard-boiled eggs and sliced baby potatoes on a platter however you’d like, and pairing it with a dressing or dip. We like to incorporate a variety of produce that really show off all of the bright colors vegetables have to offer.
CHOOSE YOUR VEGETABLES
Here’s a list of ingredients we pulled together, but feel free to incorporate produce that is available to you.
+ Bell Peppers
+ Squash Blossoms
+ Snap Peas
+ Carrots or Rainbow Carrots
+ Grape Tomatoes
+ Sliced or Whole Baby Radishes
+ Watermelon Radishes
+ Halved baby potatoes
+ Hard-boiled eggs
+ Cauliflower florets
+ Broccoli florets or broccolini
BLANCH FIRMER VEGETABLES
Blanching vegetables, such as asparagus, snap peas, broccoli and cauliflower florets, brightens their color and softens them slightly so that they are easier to enjoy.
To blanch vegetables: First, cut them all to approximately the same size, then bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set it aside. Place the vegetables in your boiling water and cook for 15-30 seconds, depending on the size and thickness of the vegetables, until they are slightly softened and their color is bright. If blanching asparagus, add the stalks first and cook for 30 seconds. Then, add the tips and cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to immediately transfer the vegetables to ice water. Let stand until completely cool. Drain the vegetables thoroughly and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel before assembling on the platter.
CHOOSE A DIP
There’s nothing like a homemade, creamy dip to pair with fresh veggies. Our favorites are the White Bean Hummus and Buttermilk Ranch from the Magnolia Table Cookbook.
White Bean Hummus
From Magnolia Table Cookbook
Makes about 3 cups; 4 to 6 servings
Two 15-ounce cans Great Northern Beans, rinsed well and drained
½ cup pine nuts, toasted (see page 79)
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
2 tablespoons roasted garlic
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup chopped roasted red peppers, for garnish
2 tablespoons parsley leaves for garnish
Bean chips, potato chips, or fresh vegetables, for serving
In a food processor, pulse the beans, half of the pine nuts, the lemon juice, roasted garlic, garlic salt, and salt until blended. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil and process until smooth. Taste and add more lemon juice if desired.
Pour the hummus into a small serving bowl. You can serve it all at once or cover and chill before serving. Garnish with the roasted red peppers, the remaining pine nuts, and the parsley leaves. Serve with bean chips, potato chips or fresh vegetables.
Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
ASSEMBLE YOUR PLATTER
Place your bowl of hummus or dressing of your choice on a serving platter, then get creative with how you arrange the vegetables. For example, you could create a pattern or group similar colors together. The beauty of this dish is that the creativity is in your hands, and that it gets everyone to gather around the table to eat a variety of fresh vegetables.
Be sure to take a photo and tag @magnolia before you dig in. We’d love to see how yours turns out!
Photography by Nick Kelley originally used for Magnolia Journal